Colin Stough Found Solace In Music During ‘Dark Times,’ He Hopes His Fans Will Find The Same On His Debut EP ‘Promiseland’

“I do this stuff is because music helped me out in my dark times. So I just want to return the favor,” the ‘American Idol’ alum shares.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

November 1, 2023


12:23 pm

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Photo Courtesy Colin Stough

American Idol Season 21 finalist, Colin Stough, has notched yet another milestone with the release of his debut EP, Promiseland

The 19-year-old Mississippi native unleashes more honesty and authenticity than ever before in his brand-new collection that blends the sounds of gritty southern rock and traditional country music. 

Produced by Alex Maxwell, Sean Rogers, and Austin Shawn, Promiseland features six new tracks, five of which were co-written by Stough. Having a major part in creating the track list for this project allowed the rising country star to introduce himself as a person and an artist while also sharing meaningful stories surrounding love, heartbreak, loss and more. 

Colin Stough Promiseland, Cover Art by Mike Rodway
Colin Stough Promiseland, Cover Art by Mike Rodway

The Inspiration Behind “‘Til The Day One Does”

Fans had already gotten a taste of the EP through the title track, as it directly reflects Stough’s love for his hometown and the memories he made there. However, if he were to choose one song off the project for fans to listen to as an introductory piece, it would be “‘Til the Day One Does,” which is expected to be released as his next single. 

Ever since writing this tune alongside Austin Shawn, Gavin Lucas, and Geoff Warburton, Stough admits he was eager to put the hard-hitting narrative out into the world. As his Mississippi-bred vocals scour the mid-tempo track, he takes a look at his newfound life living in the limelight and pledges to stay true to his roots, even now as a Nashville resident.  

“We sat down and boom the song and these ideas kept rolling while we were writing…we just kind of, I guess you’d say cut from a different cloth, you know, a little bit rowdy and wilder than most others,” Stough acknowledged while discussing the song with Country Now. “So I just kind of wanted to form something and tell a story about that and not only that, but now this life I’m living now. I had to settle down a little bit, to kind of give that signal of change in the middle of the song and it’s just a good feeling to kind of have something like that. It was a great day when we wrote the song, and it’s been absolutely amazing since. I’ve been ready to drop the one for months.”

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Turning Sadness Into Power Through Songwriting

Stough’s second-ever co-write in Nashville turned out to be a heavy one. He went just after hearing devastating news from back home, but instead of leaving the writing session, he decided to use the somber emotions to create an incredibly personal tune titled “Sleep Tonight.”

“I got a call that one of my buddies from back home had passed. And it kind of gave me crazy thoughts in my head. Most people would have drove home immediately, but I stayed there because I wanted to finish the write because I knew something good would come out of it,” he explained. “It’s just kind of like, tomorrow’s not really promised, but don’t be scared if it’s not. The way I was raised is that the other side is always better than, what we’re living in now so that’s kind of what we based it around.”

“There’s definitely a lot more deeper meanings and reasons for the song that I don’t really know if I can get into, but man, it’s a hard-hitting song. And when you play it for the crowd and they all get the flashlights out, it’s kind of a cool thing,” he added.

The rest of the collection includes “Lonely Hour,” “If Not For Me” and “Shoulda Called Her,” which come hot on the heels of a string of fan-favorite singles from Stough, including “Bad Day,” “I Still Talk To Jesus,” and his acoustic cover of Robyn’s 2010 hit, “Dancing On My Own.”

Colin Stough On Writing His Own Songs

Songwriting has become a big part of the 19 Recordings/BMG artist’s daily routine, especially since coming off the popular singing competition show. It’s given him an outlet to tell his stories while also finding his sound amid the pool of fellow country newcomers staring down their pipeline dreams. 

Seeing his fans grasp these narratives and relate them to their own journeys has been nothing short of an incredible feeling for Stough. He was shocked to find out that even just hours after the project dropped, fans were singing every word of the new songs right along with him. 

“It’s been great. You know, we went to a show and I mean seriously, the EP dropped and there were fans that were singing the song back to me. I’m like, ‘Man, it’s been out for…probably 10 hours.’ So that was a really good feeling to have that.”

Stough went on to explain that his ultimate goal with Promiseland is for fans to really sit with the songs and relate the stories to their own lives in order to hopefully bring them the peace or joy they’ve been searching for. 

“There are some songs on there that have deeper meaning and stuff like that and really I just want my listeners to take a message from my music and kind of live with it. Something to kind of get them through their day or make them smile, that’s the only reason I do this stuff is because music helped me out in my dark times. So I just want to return the favor.”

Showcasing His Music On The Road

Along with gearing up for the unveiling of Promiseland, Colin Stough has spent most of the year showcasing his growing catalog as a supporting act for artists like Kidd G and Drake White. He’s also been able to take that experience and incorporate the lessons he’s learned into his various headlining shows across the nation.

“Everybody that I’ve opened for has been so nice and kind. And I feel like that’s one thing that really helps a lot is having a good attitude and stuff like that. Austin Williams, he opened up for me a couple of shows and that’s one thing I always try to have,” Stoguh shared in conclusion. 

The country newcomer recently performed in his home state on October 21 and next up, he will appear at The Oaks Farm in La Fayette, AL on November 10. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.